NTV Moldova sanctioned with MDL 10,000 for a broadcast in January about Ukrainian politicians

The Audiovisual Council (AC) has sanctioned with MDL 10,000 the TV channel NTV Moldova for violating the legislation in the broadcast of the show “Новые русские сенсации: “Я вам не Петя!” (from Russian, New Russian sensations: I’m not Petrica), broadcast on January 23.

The AC monitored the broadcast at the request of Eugeniu Ribca. This edition reports on the return to Ukraine of former President Petro Poroshenko and his conflict with current President Vladimir Zelenski, who is criticized on several occasions. According to AC, the program promotes the idea that Vladimir Zelenski “has started an economic, political and information terror, acting as a dictator for his own people”. “Therefore, it is attested that both the message launched by the audiovisual program in question and the manner of presentation of the journalist bear an aggressive and insulting, at times obscene, character, which aims to amplify the feeling of hatred, chaos and political instability in the Ukrainian state”, it is stated in the AC’s monitoring report.

The authority’s specialists found that “in order to amplify the negative message and distort the meaning of reality, in its commentaries, the makers of the program use negative pejoratives, video material and images selected and combined through editing tricks, so as to present the two protagonists and in particular the Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelenski in a negative context”, and according to the description on the NTV website, this program is not one with satirical elements, but with investigative elements, and NTV Moldova is responsible for what it broadcasts.

The TV representatives told the Council that the “freedom of expression protects both the content and the form of information expressed, including information that offends, shocks or disturbs. The channel’s administration claims that the program is a copyright program and was broadcast under contract with a Hungarian company. “The author’s program presents the opinion of the author and not of NTV Moldova. In this case, the channel places the content and does not edit it. Editing an author’s program is equivalent to censorship and copyright violation, which is inadmissible in democratic media,” notes the content of the letter from NTV Moldova. The channel’s administration noted that journalists have the right to criticize governments, including those of other countries, and that the program also contains satirical elements.

Eugeniu Ribca pointed out that potential hate speech is difficult to prove in this case, which carries a higher fine. Thus, the AC fined with MDL 10,000 for repeated violation of the rules on ensuring correct information.

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